It was almost eleven years to the day in December 2003 when upon redeployment from Iraq, I loaded up our Chevy Suburban and a 6×12 U-Haul trailer.
We were departing Ft. Hood Texas for Plantation, Florida so our girls could start school in a new semester — and Angela could continue her career as a financial advisor. I reflected upon that trip during the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America in May. We came down I-35 to Hwy 190 to Houston and hit I-10 then down to the Florida turnpike. We found our way to Sunrise Blvd and headed west to Nob Hill Road and what would become our home in the subdivision called Fountain Springs.
We arrived around 2 am and boy, was I beat — and thus began the longest period of time the West family hunkered down in one location.
And so it is that today I will load up a Jeep Cherokee Overland and another 6×12 U-Haul trailer heading back to Texas to assume the position of CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. Aubrey, now a 21-year-old college senior will ride with Dad while Austen, an 18-year-old high school senior will fly out with Mom on Christmas morning. Yep, bummer, Angela and I will spend our 25th anniversary apart — but hey, she’s getting a really nice house in Dallas.
So, eleven years here in South Florida, no regrets, and there are so many great lifelong friends we’ve made. It was the place where our girls grew up and yes, we’ll be keeping the home in Fountain Springs – that’s how you build a legacy for your children.
As I reflect upon all those whom we have met, there are two who stand above the rest — Pastors Scott Eynon and Mark Hattabaugh of Community Christian and The Pentecostals. Community Christian is our home church and shall forever be so. Pastor Hattabaugh has been a great spiritual mentor for our family and exposed our girls to several mission trips. There have been so many great individuals we’ve met here, but these two have gone above and beyond in their prayers of protection for our family.
The congregation at Community Christian is a family unlike any other and when you enter the sanctuary there’s a big banner stating, “No perfect people allowed.” I’ve shared many of Pastor Scott’s sermons here and he is without a doubt one of the most astute preachers of God’s word — a funny guy, and oh yeah, a serious Miami Dolphins fan!
As many of us sit and pray for the three fallen law enforcement officers from this week, I must give a serious shout out to the South Florida law enforcement officers I’ve come to know — and those who stand by their side. Bandit 6, Brendan, and Vince you guys take care. Boca Bevy, I’ll miss ya. And to the editor of this website whom I met on a SCUBA dive at South Florida Dive Headquarters in Pompano Beach — well, thanks!
However, in heading back to Texas, I’ll be reunited with my best friend of 27 years, Simeon Terry and his wife Alma. I was best man in Simeon’s wedding back in Manhattan, Kansas. Simeon and Angela are both undergrad alums at Kansas State — I came later for a Masters degree. We are looking forward to being a part of the Dallas community and my first in-studio local interview will be the day after Christmas. Pastor Scott is going to recommend a church for our family and we’re excited about finding a new church home.
So, I’ll be off the grid for the next few days until the day after Christmas. If any of you are out and see a 2011 Jeep Cherokee Overland midnight blue with Florida “Paratrooper” license plate and 1st Infantry, 4th Infantry, and 82 Airborne bumper stickers, yep, that’s me heading to Dallas.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thanks for all your support for this website.
And remember that the greatest gift we all get is the gift of the birth of Jesus Christ and the next best gift comes from the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who safeguard our liberties and freedoms — along with those men and women of the Thin Blue Line who keep our neighborhoods safe.
I’ll leave you all with the words of the original Tennessee Volunteer, Davy Crockett, who upon losing his Congressional reelection stated, “You all can go to hell, I’m going to Texas.”
I hope to see you in the Lone Star state.